23 Feb 2011

Maori still seriously disadvantaged - UN report

1:46 pm on 23 February 2011

A United Nations report has concluded that Maori are still seriously disadvantaged in New Zealand, despite positive moves to promote parity.

The report follows a visit last year by the UN's special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya.

Mr Anaya says New Zealand has made significant strides in recent years to advance the rights of Maori people.

He praises Treaty settlements; the signing of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; moves to repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act; and plans for a constitutional review.

But he says he couldn't help but note the extreme disadvantage in the social and economic conditions of Maori people in comparison with the rest of New Zealand society

He says Treaty principles and international standards protecting the rights of indigenous people should be enshrined in domestic laws like the new Coastal and Marine Areas Bill.

And he says the state should focus on boosting Maori participation in local governance.